University of California, Irvine Tom Boellstorff
Natie’s metaverse romance began with an anonymous text message. At first, “C” only admitted that he lived in a nearby town. Natty eventually finds out that “Clem” is a guy with a lonely office job like her, because Natty “she lived in two worlds, so to speak.” Hers is the boring world of the office and the online world where “she wasn’t lacking in socializing.”
“She told him and he felt sympathy, which relieved the irritation.” I noticed that Their blossoming relationship nearly fails when a colleague of Clem’s pretends to be Clem and visits Nati’s office, but the deception is revealed in time for their “dot and line romance” to succeed. became.
In that last sentence, I gave the ending of Wired Love, the source of the quote above. Ella Thayer’s novel The World of the Telegraph, published in 1879, makes a startling prediction. Yet wired love was firmly planted in what journalist Thomas Standage aptly called the “Victorian Internet.” Many aspects of the current metaverse were already well known 143 years ago.
old is new
History is more than fun facts. History deeply shapes the way we think and act. As an anthropologist who has studied virtual worlds for almost 20 years, I have found the Metaverse’s rich past shaping the unprecedented.
This is no coincidence. The modern metaverse is overwhelmingly owned and developed by companies who demand that their profit model focus on the Next Big Thing. This usually sets history aside and has huge economic and social implications.
The core of the metaverse is defined by the concept of a virtual world. Telegrams and later telephones constituted the early virtual worlds, as Wired Love shows.
Multi-user dungeons (MUDs) emerged in the late 20th century. These virtual worlds appeared in local computer networks in the late 1970s and entered dial-up Internet services in the 1980s and his 1990s. Richard Bartle, the original co-creator of his MUD, noted that by 1993 more than 10% of all internet traffic was on his MUD. Virtual worlds with graphics including avatars date back to his Habitat, launched in 1985.
The advent of broadband in the 2000s established many key aspects of the modern metaverse. Long-time metaverse observers such as Wagner James Au have repeatedly emphasized that many “new” developments have rehashed longstanding debates.
Laws of real estate and virtual physics
Consider what the history of the Metaverse reveals about virtual real estate. Critics go wild for the virtual ‘land rush’ and highlight the place. For example, his The Sandbox in the virtual world sells a lot for about $2,300, but in December 2021, someone will pay his $450,000 to buy it next door to a virtual mansion owned by rap star Snoop Dogg. bought land.
What is the reason for the price spike? Co-founder Sebastien Borget explained that The Sandbox has a limited number of plots, and people can only access adjacent plots. Therefore, only a few people can own virtual land next to Snoop Dogg.
The Sandbox would like to thank Second Life, a virtual world that has been called a “sandbox” since its inception in 2002 for a space to practice building.
Second Life originally had “point-to-point teleportation” (P2P). You can reach anywhere in an instant. But in 2003, Linden Lab, which owns Second Life, disabled P2P for him. Residents trying to reach their destination will appear at the nearest “telehub”.
This affected real estate. Plots of land near telehubs of business and recreational value sold for top prices—until Linden Lab suddenly announced the end of telehubs and his P2P revival in 2005.
The land near the former Telehab no longer had any special value. Some have lost thousands of dollars. The most powerful landlords can’t change the laws of physics, but Linden Lab can literally erase scarcity from existence.
Fast forward about 20 years. Snoop Dogg’s virtual land next to his mansion is scarce. There is no P2P for him in The Sandbox, so the plot could cost him $450,000. But if the company suddenly added P2P, that $450,000 investment could be nearly worthless. The tendency of experts to ignore this fact highlights the danger of forgetting the history of the Metaverse.
Immersion—sensory or social?
Another example of the importance of the metaverse’s history concerns the concept of virtual environments. Virtual worlds don’t just connect places. They are places in themselves.
150 years ago, people used telegrams to play chess. These virtual chessboards weren’t on either end of the wire. In 1992, Bruce Sterling noted that calls are neither made on your phone nor on the other person’s phone. They take place in a virtual environment. An obscure place where two people actually meet and communicate.
In 1990, the Habitat founders concluded that the metaverse is defined more by the interactions of people within it than by the technology that creates it. They are particularly skeptical of virtual reality technology, stating that “the almost mystical euphoria that seems to surround all this hardware right now is, in our opinion, excessive and somewhat irrelevant.” says.
The problem isn’t the possibilities of VR, but the Matrix-like idea that every instance requires sensory immersion in the metaverse. The main difference is sensory immersion and social immersion. The idea that virtual environments require VR misinterprets “immersion.” They are also gifted as not everyone can see or hear them. The history of the metaverse shows that social immersion is the foundation of the metaverse.
learn from history
The Metaverse still has a long way to go, but it already has a long history. Proximity and immersion are just two of his examples of important topics that this history can elucidate.
This is important because the mystification that is now prevalent is no accident. New versions of the metaverse are predominantly owned and developed by Big Tech. These companies are trying to create a perception that the Metaverse is new and futuristic. But the history of the Metaverse is real. They can expose past mistakes and contribute to a better virtual future.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/the-metaverse-isnt-here-yet-but-it-already-has-a-long-history-186083.
Image credit: N Backer | Dreamtime.com